In today’s Global Bulletin, the European Film Academy and Berlin Film Festival call for Nasrin Sotoudeh’s immediate release from prison, Banijay appoints Dominique Farrugia as managing director for Endemol Shine in France, Amazon Prime Video announces a slate of sports docs in Spain, and the World Congress of Science and Factual Producers preps for December’s digital edition.
CALL TO ACTION
The European Film Academy and Berlin International Film Festival have released a joint call for the immediate release of writer and human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, featured in Jafar Panahi’s Golden Bear-winning “Taxi Teheran.”
Sotoudeh was arrested in June 2018 and sentenced to more than 30 years in prison and 148 whiplashes on charges many claim are dubious at best. Since Aug. 11 she has been on hunger strike as a response to inaction in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic at Teheran’s infamous Evin prison. She is currently in critical condition and, according to a press release, needs immediate medical attention the prison cannot provide.
“Imprisoned Iranian activists have very few tools left in their arsenals with which they can raise their voices – Nasrin’s hunger strike is more or less all the power she has left,” says European Film Academy chairman and film producer Mike Downey.
“The current situation in Iranian jails for political prisoners has become more and more terrifying as COVID-19 rages through the institutions. Basic overcrowding, lack of simple hygienic measures like cleaning products and hot water alongside a complete absence of disinfection procedures in prison wards and common areas makes them a hotbed for the communication of the virus. She was hospitalized on Monday and is in very bad shape.”
The organizations have also called for all charges against Sotoudeh to be dropped, and for other film and culture institutions around the world to sign the PEN petition for her immediate release.
Banijay France has appointed Dominique Farrugia as new managing director of recently purchased Endemol Shine. Set to take the reins on Nov. 2, Farrugia will head scripted operations and manage the company’s pipeline of premium content, reporting to Banijay France CEO François de Brugada.
With several years of executive experience, most recently as deputy managing director at Studiocanal, Farrugia’s unique resume also includes co-founding the French comedy troupe Les Nuls and directing several films and a TV series. In 2003 he founded Farrudg Entertainment Worldwide, which partnered with Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp in 2012, where he was appointed director of French-language output.
Under the new deal, he will maintain an existing first-look agreement with Studiocanal for any film projects coming out of his current production company One Again.
Amazon Prime Video Spain announced a packed slate of new and returning sports-themed unscripted content at a virtual press event on Thursday.
Two popular Amazon Prime Video Original docuseries will be returning for their second seasons in the coming months, “Six Dreams 2: Back to Win” (The Mediapro Studio, La Liga), which follows several figures at La Liga’s biggest soccer clubs including players and front office personnel, and “Fernando” (The Mediapro Studio), a behind the scenes look at Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso.
Debuting on Oct. 9, “Carolina Marín: I Can Because I Think I Can” (Buendía Studios) tracks the Olympic and world badminton champion following a serious ligament tear and the resulting recovery process to regain her spot among the world’s best.
And finally, premiering next year is “Rafa Nadal Academy” (Movistar), a four-part docuseries examining the training methodology of students at the Spanish tennis star’s Mallorca-based academy.
The four programs join previously announced documentaries “Fernando Torres: El Último Símbolo” and a still untitled tribute to Spain’s 2010 World Cup winning squad (Royal Spanish Football Federation, TBS).
The World Congress of Science and Factual Producers has announced a quartet of speakers for its Congress ’20, to be streamed online Dec. 8-10.
Traditionally a migrating event, moving country to country each year, Congress ’20 will be held entirely online as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Canadian environmentalist Dr. David Suzuki and British-Nigerian historian and BBC presenter David Olusoga will speak as part of the Sparks of Inspiration series. BBC broadcaster Liz Bonnin and YouTube science star Trace Dominguez will headline the flagship What’s the Buzz session, an annual survey of the latest trends in science and factual announced last week.
Congress ’20 is presented with support from host sponsor ARTE and organized by Hot Docs.